THE streets of Bridgwater were eerily quiet on Friday afternoon as Sedgemoor residents respected the national lockdown.
Pedestrians were thin on the ground throughout the town centre with people increasingly wary of the dangers of Covid-19 – and with good reason.
In the previous 24 hours another 1,280 people had died of the coronavirus in the UK with 55,761 cases new cases reported, up from 48,682 on Thursday.
Eleven of the deaths were in Somerset including another two in Sedgemoor.
And although more than three million people have received one of the vaccines nationwide, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he was ramping up measures to protect the public.
Mr Johnson said that as from Monday morning the UK is to close all travel corridors to “protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains of Covid”.
Anyone flying into the country from overseas will have to show proof of a negative Covid test before setting off.
The announcement came as a ban on travellers from South America and Portugal took effect over concerns about a new variant identified in Brazil.
Mr Johnson said the new rules would be in place until at least February 15.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the prime minister said it was “vital” to take extra measures now “when day by day we are making such strides in protecting the population”.
“It’s precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country.”
PHOTO: Jeff Searle